This may be the most important week of the NFL season with games from start to finish that having postseason significance. The week starts Thursday with the Patriots (6-6) at the Rams (8-4). The Sunday afternoon games include two current wild cards in Minnesota (6-6) at Tampa Bay (7-5), Kansas City (11-1) at Miami (8-4), and AFC playoff hopefuls Indianapolis (8-4) at Las Vegas (7-5). The prime time schedule is also impactful with the Steelers (11-1) heading into Buffalo (9-3) and ending Monday night with the Ravens (7-5) fighting for their postseason lives at Cleveland (9-3).
It isn’t very often when you have a week that consistently has matchups that can seal a team’s playoff fate, but there will be plenty this week – from beginning to end.
NFL Betting Odds and Lines: Week 14
New England (+200) at Los Angeles Rams (-250)
Even after hammering the Chargers in the same stadium, the Patriots are being disrespected as 5.5 point dogs. Because of the defenses, the Over/Under is shockingly low at 45.5 points (-115 Over, -105 Under). The problem is that, despite two impressive defenses, you have offenses that can pick apart a defense with the short game and make big plays. It might take a defensive or special teams touchdown to cement it, but take the Over at -115.
Tennessee (-350) at Jacksonville (+290)
The Titans saw Derrick Henry bottled up for one of the few times last week and, anyone who knows Titans football – especially in December – that hasn’t happened often. The Titans are 7-point favorites (-115 for Tennessee, -105 for the Jaguars). Look for Tennessee to throw their way to a double-digit lead and let Henry pound the Jags into submission and maintain. Take Tennessee and lay the seven points at -115.
Arizona (-155) at New York Giants (+130)
The Cardinals are traveling cross country in the early Sunday window, which is often bad news for West Coast, warm-weather teams. But, the Cardinals have too much talent at too many spots for the Giants defense to contain and as just a 2.5 point favorite (-110 for both), if you think the Cards are going to win, laying less than three points. Take Arizona and lay the three points at -110.
Houston (-125) at Chicago (+105)
The two teams I have had the most difficulty with all season have been Houston and Indianapolis. I gave Houston too much credit and Indy not enough. I’ve bet on Houston too often as a dog and been burned. Now they’re a favorite in December in cold, windy weather — the Texans are a 1.5 point favorite (-110 for both). Let’s start a new trend and get off the train. Take Chicago on the Money Line at +105.
Minnesota (+240) at Tampa Bay (-300)
The Vikings and Bucs both have offenses capable of scoring 30 points – and the ability to allow too many big plays. That is why the Over/Under is little higher than it should be at 51.5 points (-115 Over, -105 Under). When at their best, both offense go on double-digit scoring drives and play the field position game. If there isn’t a defensive or special teams touchdown, 52 points will be hard to hit. Take the Under at -105.
Dallas (Off) at Cincinnati (Off)
I’ve always been a believer in revenge plays – when a key player who spent the majority of his career with one team and comes back as an opponent. It doesn’t get much bigger than Andy Dalton coming back to Cincinnati without Joe Burrow on the other sideline. There hasn’t been a line put on this, but, given their record, the spread should be close. Take Dallas and lay the points.
Kansas City (-350) at Miami (+270)
The Chiefs have to be skeptical of Miami’s defense, which is getting much better as the year goes on, but what makes the Chiefs lethal is playing against offenses that can make mistakes. Tua Tagovailoa is going to be a good NFL QB, but any mistakes he makes will put points on the board for Kansas City. The Chiefs are a healthy 7-point favorite (-110 for both teams) for a reason. Take Kansas City and lay the points at -110.
Denver (Off) at Carolina (Off)
This game isn’t on the board yet because of questions as to whether or not Christian McCaffrey is going to play. At the end of the day, it would be helpful, but doesn’t matter. Take Carolina and lay the points.
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Indianapolis (-150) at Las Vegas (+130)
The Colts have been my kryptonite all season because I simply don’t believe in them. They are a team constructed to get a lead and let their defense hold it. I’ve had to begrudgingly give some credit to Philip Rivers, but the Raiders know him as well as anyone and how to attack him personally. Take the Raiders on the Money Line at +130.
New York Jets (+565) at Seattle (-700)
These are still the Jets and now they’ve got a new defensive coordinator after they blew the chance to win their first game of the year. Seattle is a wild card team right now and are coming off a humbling home loss to the Giants last week. The Seahawks are a 13-point favorite (-110 for both teams). I’d lay 20. Take Seattle and lay the 13 points at -110.
Green Bay (-400) at Detroit (+310)
The Packers are going to win the division again and Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP season. But, division games shouldn’t have an Over/Under of 55.5 points (-110 for both teams). They knew each other very well and the goal is to come away with a win, whatever it takes. I could see the Packers getting up by 14 and taking their foot off the gas to kill the clock. Detroit isn’t horrible, but they won’t turn this into a 38-31 shootout. Take the Under.
Atlanta (-145) at Los Angeles Chargers (+120)
The Falcons have always had the weapons to be good and the Chargers are a team that loses close games. It’s who they are. That’s why the Falcons are a 2.5-point-road favorite. But, the Chargers are on the verge of being good and a lot of times teams out of the running on the climb finish strong. Take the Chargers on the Money Line.
New Orleans (-300) at Philadelphia (+250)
The Over/Under is 43.5 points (-115 Over, -105 Under) – understandable when the headliners are Taysom Hill and Jalen Hurts. Two guys with nothing to lose. That has always spelled points – good or bad – more than most. Take the Over at -115.
Washington (+145) at San Francisco (-175)
The Football Team is in the playoff hunt and the defending NFC champs are hobbled. Nick Mullens is getting his feet under him as a starter and, while the Niners are a pedestrian three-point home favorite (in Arizona) (+105 for Washington, -115 for the Niners), it’s time to for the Niners to draw a line in the sand on their disappointing season. Take the 49ers and lay the three points at -115.
Pittsburgh (+125) at Buffalo (-150)
The Steelers are coming off a humbling first loss of the season and will likely pull out the trickery they’ve been holding onto until it was needed (11-0 didn’t need it). As an 11-1 road dog, I say, “Yes, please!” to being given gravy for the biscuit. Take the Steelers on the Money Line.
Baltimore (-110) at Cleveland (-105)
Based on record, this has to be the call – Browns as a 1-point favorite. The bet here is simple.Take the Ravens on the Money Line. Better yet, take a prop you’re comfortable with laying the Ravens and a few points. That’s where the money is at on this one.
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